College Interns At Startup Companies

internship

As women in startups, we are highly under represented and as the theme of the 2012 Olympics, women of this generation of startups need to pass on the torch.

By Asia Quan (Marketing & Business Development Associate, HealthSouk)

As college students, we are the leaders of tomorrow. We are also leaders of today when offered the opportunity. Our outlook brings about the most advanced and unique ideas.

Startups create and develop products off of the most innovative ideas. This makes startups and college students the perfect match.

Here are the reasons startups need college students – and college students need startups:

First of all, startups need college students as their consumers. As college students, we constantly use the newest technology whether we are on our phones or computers. Once one of us gets interested in something our friends get interested and their friends and their families. It is a domino effect perfect to spread the word about a new product!

Not only do startups need us as the consumer, they also need our opinions. What better way to get an opinion on the product than from the consumer themselves?

College students are the most valuable entity to startups because of the perspective we bring. We are the innovative workers at startups offering up our personal skills to build companies. Startup CEOs had the initial idea, but college students come in to further refine the idea.

Whether we know how to code, design or are just avid users of social media, we have the ideas that can bring startups to the next level. We notice details that may mean nothing to someone else. We are the realists that have a reasonable perspective on how people will react to the product because sometimes CEO’s can have biased views.

At my current position at a startup called HealthSouk, myself and four other college students help build the product, give our opinions, and devise marketing strategies using the most popular social media. Since we have come on board, our company has made substantial progress.

In return, startups allow us the chance to get more on-the-job training, while learning the ins and outs of building a business from the ground up. We are exposed to the hardships such as selling a product that is not completely ready and experience the joy of pitching to VC’s and gaining funding.

At a startup job, every day is a new adventure! Your focus can change every day, you may be targeting one age group one minute and realize it is not correct and revamp the plan. This environment teaches you the ability to adapt to any situation at any given point and time. Through my experience, I learned that having a good idea is a great tool, but to make a business out of it takes a great deal of planning, resources, ambition and patience.

What we as college students can offer startups is invaluable and the experience that they can offer us is also invaluable.

I highly recommend that more startups seek out students and that more students consider jobs at startups, especially young women. As women in startups, we are highly under represented and as the theme of the 2012 Olympics, women of this generation of startups need to pass on the torch.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Asia Quan is a Marketing and Business Development Associate at HealthSouk, a health startup that helps individuals and families without dental insurance find affordable and quality dental care. She is currently working towards her undergraduate degree. She is very passionate about women and youth empowerment, health care and technology. Follow her on Twitter at @asiasquan.